Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022)
June 18, 2022 4:27 AM - Subscribe

Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), a 55-year-old widow and retired school teacher, is yearning for some adventure, human connection... and some sex. And she has a plan, which involves hiring a young sex worker named Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack). Directed by Sophie Hyde; written by Katy Brand (streaming on Hulu)

Emma Thompson plays Nancy, retired and recently widowed, vividly unhappy, and at the limit of her ability to endure her own unhappiness. Completely breaking her strict patterns, she hires a sex worker named Leo (Daryl McCormack), whom she somehow found on the internet. She rents a posh hotel room, where he joins her. The film is broken up into four separate "meetings," and each meeting has its own flow and rhythm, with jagged edges, reprieves and pauses, beautiful and funny moments, as these strangers get to know each other in what is a transparently transactional relationship.

What happens between them is, of course, sexual, but so much else is going on. Fascinating philosophical territory opens up, where things like intimacy, aging, and the importance of sexual pleasure, whether it's with yourself or with someone else, enter the room. There is a moment early on where Thompson, always amazing but at her best here, begins to weep. For her, sex is associated with disappointment and loss. She isn't going to untangle that in a two-hour session. It's not like Leo touches her and she melts instantly. Nancy thought she hired Leo to have some sex. She didn't realize the focus would be on pleasure, whatever form that pleasure takes. She has no idea what pleasure even means.
posted by I_Love_Bananas (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's been a long while since I've been so thoroughly impressed by a film as I was about this one. The concepts and thinking and delivery of same is amazing. I related a great deal to the character Thompson plays and the lack of intimacy in her life.

I can't imagine being brave enough to do what she did in the final scene, although the point of the film makes my belief about that in and of itself hackeneyed and symptomatic of our current culture.

I also think that her facial expression before the credits ran – I doubt I can unlock all of it, but it seemed a masterclass in and of itself.

I don't know if the film is Oscar-eligible, but it deserves all the awards, honestly. Really recommend it. Eleven stars out of ten.
posted by MollyRealized at 10:29 PM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I loved it. And didn't expect to. Emma Thompson is miraculous, and "Leo" was fantastic too. Really it felt like watching a (very good) play. Not that that matters.
posted by DMelanogaster at 8:45 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


(It's actually not going to be Oscars eligible, alas, because it's streaming in the US. The Covid-era "okay to stream first or only" rules were rescinded for 2022.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:17 AM on June 19


We watched this tonight and were so impressed and delighted with all of it. Emma was so good, and, yeah, that last little look on her face. Perfect.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:47 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


I loved that, after everything, Nancy achieves her main goal on her own. I had to cheer for her.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:15 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]




There is a cute touch during the couple’s first meeting. Nancy ducks into the bathroom to change, and the lingerie she brings is a nearly identical floral pattern as the frumpy blouse she’s wearing.

It’s not made out to be the focus of the scene, but it’s a subtle detail left there for the viewer to absorb, and speaks volumes about Nancy.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:47 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


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